Changes to JobKeeper and JobSeeker payments

Changes to JobSeeker and Jobkeeper payments will come into effect form 25 and 28 September, respectively.

Since March, JobSeeker payments have been effectively doubled to $1,100 a fortnight by a coronavirus supplement. From today, the supplement will fall to $250 a fortnight, taking the total JobSeeker payment to just over $800 a fortnight. The coronavirus supplement also affects Youth Allowance recipients, Austudy recipients and those who are on some other government payments.

The Government has also moved to reintroduce the liquid assets test for JobSeeker recipients, which means those with substantial savings will be required to wait up to 13 weeks to access payments.

The initial JobKeeper program has finished on 27 September. Extension one kicked in from 28 September and will last until 3 January 2021. Extension 2 will be enacted from 4 January to 28 March.

The payment will be split into two brackets, and fall from $1,500 a fortnight to $1,200 for those who worked more than 20 hours a week before COVID-19. For those who worked less, it will fall to $750 a fortnight,

The Government has also relaxed the eligibility criteria for JobKeeper, due to the situation in Victoria, meaning more businesses can apply on behalf of their employees.

A loosened turnover test will mean businesses only have to demonstrate a significant revenue fall in the September quarter, rather than since the pandemic began.

At the same time, businesses still need to show a 30% drop in GST turnover for the September 2020 quarter against some other comparative numbers. This means if your September quarter sales have recovered to more-or-less pre-COVID levels, there’s a strong chance your business won’t qualify for the JobKeeper extension.

To qualify for the JobKeeper extension, an entity needs to satisfy an actual decline in turnover test.  There is no longer any forecasting involved in any tests. The tests apply to actual quarterly GST turnover figures. 

  Qualifying for extension 1 will not automatically qualify the business for extension 2.

Employee eligibility is now tested as at 1 July 2020, including tests for long term casuals. From 3 August 2020 employers have been able to nominate new employees who were employed as at 1 July 2020, and
meet the other eligibility criteria. This can include employees who were ineligible based on prior tests as at 1 March 2020.

For more on JobKeeper, click HERE.

For more on JobSeeker, click HERE.